Charlie Sheen’s Twitter story is truly incredible.
In her fantastic book ‘Celebrity Inc: How Famous People Make Money’, Jo Piazza recounts how:
* Hollywood hellraiser Sheen’s sacking from top TV show ‘Two and a Half Men’ in Spring 2011 left him scratching around to replace the $2 million he had been receiving for each episode
* Sheen’s people went to Adly.com, a business that arranges for celebrities to promote brands through their Twitter followings
* Sheen (‘not a big web guy’) had never even used Twitter before but did a deal with Twitter to take over the dormant @CharlieSheen account
* Within 24 hours, he went from zero to 1 million followers, a world record
* Just one week after getting @CharlieSheen online, Adly’s copywriters crafted the following tweet and sent it out: I’m looking to hire a #winning INTERN with #TigerBlood. Apply here – http://bit.ly/hykQQF #TigerBloodIntern #internship #ad
* That one tweet generated 95,333 clickthroughs in the first hour
* Within 48 hours it had generated 450,000 clickthroughs
* #TigerBloodIntern became a worldwide trending topic and there were over 80,000 applications for the 8 week intern role
* Sheen’s client, Internships.com, saw an extra million visits to their site, and Sheen received a six figure sum for his ‘work’
3 Social Marketing Nuggets You Can Take Away From Charlie Sheen’s Twitter Story
Now, not everyone is – or would probably want to be – Charlie Sheen. But his Twitter story contains some nuggets that we can all learn from.
1. Building your following is VALUABLE.
Building an audience – through Twitter, through your email list, through Facebook – and providing regular value to it, isn’t just for celebrities or media companies.
Charlie Sheen had an obvious leg-up because of his fame and scandalous behaviour, but the tools available now enable any individual or business willing to invest a little time and effort to build a worthwhile following very quickly.
2. If you’re interesting enough, Twitter can deliver – big time.
The results above demonstrate what a serious source of traffic and business Twitter can be, even with a single tweet.
The challenge is to build a following of the right people and then work hard on crafting messages that capture the imagination in a few seconds and demand further investigation or touch on an essential truth – that’s what clickthroughs and retweets (the viral sharing of your tweets between other Twitter users) are made of.
3. It pays to think smarter than the obvious ‘marketing message’ on Twitter.
I’m speculating here but would guess that Sheen’s intern role itself was an irrelevance, if not a total smokescreen – if somebody was ever hired, it was probably just considered a necessary cost of the advertising campaign.
The ulterior motive was to generate traffic and, presumably, add people to Internships.com’s database when they applied, which they managed to the tune of 80,000+ people. Sheen could have just tweeted ‘Check out Internships.com’, but that wouldn’t have had the same impact, would it, as this crazy idea that you could actually WORK as an intern with this maniac!
Furthermore it would have been perceived – correctly – as blatant promotion and diminished trust. Celebrity tweets for brands have become big – and normal – business and England football star Wayne Rooney was recently sanctioned by the UK’s regulator, the Advertising Standards Agency, for a promotional tweet for Nike.
Rooney didn’t make clear that his tweet was promotional, which is what rules in the UK and US require, but his tweet (a pretty transparent message and link to a Nike video) had none of Sheen’s subtlety about it either.
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